Parenting is hard, especially for Generation Z and Generation Y parents. These parents are typically young and find it difficult to cope up with various issues with their baby. One of the most important things to know is how to get your baby started on solids. The rapid growth of a baby requires you to shift from just milk to various solid items as well. If you are confused about that, take notes of the following tips.
When to Get Your Baby Started on Solids?
This is a big question that many parents ask. What is the right time to feed your baby with solid food? Although this may vary from baby to baby, a general time frame of 4 months to 6 months is considered acceptable to feed the baby with solid food. By birth, babies don’t have any teeth thereby the chewing and swallowing ability is not there. Moreover, the solid food would not pass the baby’s throat when he is hardly a few weeks old.
Once a baby reaches 4 months of age, you can start with very small pieces of solid food. In certain cases, such as premature babies, you should extend this time to 6 months or even more. Remember that doing anything in a hurry just to accelerate your baby’s growth is not going to create any significant impact rather it may lead to various health hazards. Besides, you can also start solid foods for your baby if he gets hungry quickly. A simple measure of this would be approximately 8 breastfeedings per day or 32 ounces of formula milk.
Tips for Starting Baby on Solids
Parents must keep the following tips in mind to make sure that they are properly feeding their infants with solid food.
Use Soft Food
The big question: What solids should you feed your baby? The answer is pretty simple. Anything that is soft and does not require a lot of chewing is something that you can give to your baby. Porridge is one of the most common solids that is fed to the baby right when he is beginning with the solids. All types of single-grain cereals are highly recommended because they fulfill the essential iron requirements in the body.
After 6 – 8 months of birth, the baby can also eat other kinds of food such as fruits. However, the concept of soft foods still carries significance. Mashed bananas, micro slices of apples, small pieces of boiled egg, and even pieces of boiled chicken are fine. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, if you introduce allergenic foods to the infant at a young age, the risk of developing an allergy is reduced significantly.
Rely More on Breast Feed
Experts have advised that breastfeeding is the best food intake for an infant. Although many parents stop breastfeeding for their infants or reduce their consumption, it is not considered a healthy practice for your child. Even when you start solid food, don’t just cut down or reduce the intake of breastfeeding rather keep it maintained. As per The World Health Organization, babies should be breastfed for 2 years. The intake should be gradually decreased as a baby gets used-to of the solid foods.
Certain Foods are Dangerous
Keep in mind that even if every solid food is soft, you cannot feed it to the child because of other issues. Take the example of Honey. It is thick but soft and easy to consume for babies but if given regularly in a large amount, it may cause botulism. Botulism is a disease where the baby can ingest toxins from bacteria.
This may result in muscular weakness and trouble breathing. Specifically, the chances of botulism are high in the case of premature babies but you should be careful either way. Try to start foods like honey after 9 months of birth. As we said earlier, any food difficult to swallow should be avoided. For example, nuts, raisins, candy, hard vegetables, popcorn, and other such foods.
Do Not Force
My baby is not eating solids. Should I continuously try to give him solid food? Keep in mind that forcing food will not be beneficial in any way. Rather, there is a chance that your baby spills the food or vomits it out. Some babies don’t start consuming solids right as they cross 4 months of age and would want more time. Try not to force the food because it will only be problematic to yourself.
Instead of forcing, use strategies that could possibly help you out. For example, many babies are comfortable with light music, poems, or even a video showing colorful illustrations. Try showing these to your child. Create a light atmosphere where it is neither too cold nor too hot for the baby to adjust easily.
Buy a Bunch of Napkins
One of the most important tips to remember before starting your baby on solid food is that you should buy napkins, particularly the ones which have a micro-fiber material. This type of cloth is soft and does not cause any kind of rash on the baby’s skin. Since the young hustler is just learning how to swallow food, things might get messy as he / she would drop out some food particles as well.
Many parents get worried that their baby is dropping too much food and eating very little. Don’t stress out on this because the baby is just learning to eat solid food. With limited teeth and newly developed swallowing action, things may be difficult but eventually, he will be able to eat without dropping the food. Sometimes, he or she may also vomit and napkins would be very useful in this case as the main dress of your baby will not be spoiled.
Notice the Baby Habits
When introducing solids, you should start to adjust according to your baby’s habits. In many cases, sleeping patterns and eating patterns are massively changed. Some babies may not be adjusting to a particular kind of food such as boiled egg. Overspilling and vomiting are the two most commonly seen symptoms if a baby is not adjusting to a certain kind of food.
In other cases, the baby may have loose motions as well. Notice all such habits with regards to the type of food you are giving to the young one. In case the body is giving any unusual reactions, reduce the food intake of the specific item.
Here are a few more tips on feeding your baby with a bottle – Is There a Wrong Way to Feed a Baby with a Bottle?
Use a Solid Food Feeder
The Solid Food Feeder is just like a regular feeder except for the fact that instead of a nipple, it has a spoon extension on the front side. The feeder transfers the solid content to the spoon from where you can directly feed your child. This type of feeder is most useful when you are giving a mixture of solid / liquid foods which includes porridge and cereal. The solid food feeder will also help in creating a minimum possible mess while giving maximum comfort to the parents as well.
However, this isn’t useful for all types of foods. For example, you can’t feed your baby a boiled egg with this feeder. Nonetheless, it still is one of the most useful tools for feeding the babies which is why it is our recommendation too.
Sanitize Hands every time
Babies do not have a strong immune system as adults. Their young bodies do not deal with infections and bacterial problems easily. The chances of a baby getting sick due to human contact are really high. The risk increases further when you are feeding your baby with your hands. Therefore, don’t just simply wash, rather sanitize your hands every time you are going to feed your baby. Wash both hands properly as it is going to be vital for your baby’s health.
Simultaneously, you should also keep in mind that the bottle you are feeding your child from is clean. There are bottle cleaners available for a very low price which ensure that your bottle is clean. We don’t recommend refrigerating and using the same food in the same bottle once again. Always focus on providing fresh meals to the baby to avoid the risk of any kind of infection.
Suggested Reading – Bottle Feeding Tips for Dads
Starting a baby on solids is not a tough job but many new parents still struggle to do so. However, if you follow the tips that we have mentioned above, you would not be facing any major problems with starting your baby on solids. Keep in mind that the time period factor is very important and your baby might be eating solid foods later than other babies of the same age. Do not worry as a little more time is just going to be beneficial for him in developing the proper swallowing action. Happy Parenting!